German biochemist who, along with Johann Deisenhofer and Robert Huber,
received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1988 for their determination
of the structure of certain proteins that are essential for photosynthesis.
It was Michel's preliminary work, done in the period from 1978 to 1982,
that cleared the way for the three scientists' joint research. They
wanted to determine the three-dimensional structure of a four-protein
complex (called a photosynthetic reaction centre) that is crucial to
the process of photosynthesis in certain bacteria. Michel performed
the hitherto impossible feat of crystallizing the membrane-bound protein
complex to a pure crystalline form, thus making it possible to determine
the protein's structure atom-by-atom by means of X-ray diffraction techniques.
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